Kensington Hi-Fi Headphones with Mic – Review

KensingtonHeadphoneswith mic

Summary

Kensington Hi-Fi Headphones with Mic are a great kids headphone, they are well made, durable, have good sound quality, will fit a variety of head sizes and are a great choice both for home and school use. Priced at under $25 they are a great value. Their grown-up styling will be popular with kids who have outgrown cute character headphones.

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums

If you are looking for headphones for your children for school or home use Kensington’s new Hi-Fi Headphones with Mic are a great option and good value for money too.

Over the last few years my childrens’ schools have been incorporating more technology into the curriculum and even their State testing is transitioning to being done on the computer instead of with pencil and paper. Because of this parents need to provide their kids with headphones for use during computer or tablet time at school. My kids also use headphones when using the computer or tablet at home so they can work simultaneously without disturbing each other. With 3 kids needing them for both home and school we get through a lot of headphones !

When looking for headphones for my kids there are a number of features that are important to me: clear sound, comfortable, fit a range of head sizes, sound limited to a safe level and they must be tough and durable.

I recently had the opportunity to test out Kensington’s new Headphones With Mic that they have designed specifically for students in K-12. The first thing I noticed as they don’t look like kids headphones, although they are designed for kids they look very much like an adult headphone. My kids are 8, 8 and 12 and will shun anything they consider “too babyish” and all 3 approved of this design.

They have a wide black headband that is padded at the top and when you expand it shows a silver metal band at the sides. My 8 year-old daughter has a small head for her age and my 12 year-old son’s head is on the large side and the headphones fit both of them comfortably.

The headphones have 40mm drivers and I found the sound quality very good for a sub- $30 headphone – the sound was clear and crisp with a good dynamic range. The maximum sound level is 94db, which gives me peace of mind as they can’t turn the sound to unsafe levels.

The microphone is a nice bonus feature and very useful for using apps with dictation and voice recognition. This is especially important for kids who have difficulty typing. I like the flexible microphone stalk and how it rotates out of the way when not in use.

My kids (especially the younger boy) are tough on headphones but these feel well-made and durable so I am confident they will last him a good while. The cord is 9 foot long, rubberized and flexible and it has a gold-plated jack. The cord comes coiled up and we keep it that way most of the time, but it is nice to have the extra length for times we need it. The one thing I would like to see added is an attached velcro cord tidy for keeping the cord neat instead of the current wire tie.

Overall, I think these are a great kids headphone, they are well made, durable, have good sound quality, will fit a variety of head sizes and are a great choice both for home and school use. Priced at under $25 they are a great value. Their grown-up styling will be popular with kids who have outgrown cute character headphones. They are popular with my kids and are my 8 year old son’s favorite headphones.

Kensington Hi-Fi Headphones with Mic (SRP $24.99) are available from Kensington.com, Amazon and other retailers.

You may also wish to read Kensington iPad Accessories for the Classroom
NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.

 



Nighthawk X4 Smart WiFi Router by NetGear – Review



Disclaimer: I am a NETGEAR Ambassador and I received this product in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion and review

What we love…

easy to set up, great range, no more #deadspots, guest network

What we’d love to see…

Ability for the antennas to stay upright

Summary

Awesome router which means that my devices work together well using the QOS technology and no more lagtime

Our Rating

 

recommended-by-the-imums

NetGear-AmbassaodorWe have many devices in our house that use Wireless internet – four iPads, three smartphones, a Smart TV and a BlueRay Player just to name a few.  I recently got a chace to put the Nighthawk X4 Smart WiFi router to the test.  The router uses a dual-core 1.4 GHz Processor and you can use it wired, WAN-to-LAN as well.  It is designed for gaming and streaming which means that there is minimal if any lag when using the router.  Our internet is not in an ideal location in our house – it’s on the second floor on the left hand side of the house.  This unfortunately means that on the other side of the house on the first floor we often have #deadspots.  I’m happy to report that this router helped to solve that problem.  The router includes four high performance external antennas which meant I could even access my wireless on the front lawn!  Huge win as I love to stream music or occasionally use my laptop outside.  The Nighthawk X4 features Twin USB 3.0 and eSATA ports which makes external storage a snap and you can also install the NETGEAR Genie app on your devices to better manage your network as well as enable and disable guest access.

Setup was a snap, I simply pulled out my old router, plugged in the new with the included cords, screwed in the four antennas and we were online in about 10 minutes.  I loved the WPS Push to Connect for some of my devices and how easy it as to get everything up and running quickly.  Using the Genie app I can also monitor usage on the network and we decided to try to stream a number of things as well as do a download and run a movie on the BlueRay player.  It worked like a champ.  Our internet speed is fast – but we have often seen slowdowns which now seem to be addressed.  The dynamic QOS recognizes different applications which means that you get the bandwith you need to stream or use your devices in the home for a seamless user experience. It is device aware and gives the right bandwith to both the TV and a tablet versus my previous router. My husband was amazed at how quickly the new router was up and running, especially since he had seen me tweak our old Netgear router to get the settings correct.

I loved that the wireless was fairly consistent throughout the house – and we that there were limited #deadspots which I was easily able to boost.  We like to watch Netflix but have been having a problem where the show will stop and buffer on our BlueRay player.  With our previous Netgear router, I was able to tweak the settings and mostly fix the problem, however, with the new Nighthawk X4 it was simply plug and play.  I liked that I could also turn off the LED lights – I left them on and walked by the office where the internet is set up one night and was amazed at the amount of light they generated!   I also liked that it included a guest network so I could securely have a network and then choose if I wanted to turn on the guest one for those visiting our home.  I also liked how easy it was to change the guest access password using the Netgear Genie app.  I also liked the customer service experience, I called in with a question about my connection and they were very helpful to make sure I had the network configured correctly. As a side note, using the Netgear Genie app I could configure parental controls and even say which devices could be on and off the network which meant that I could turn off “screen time” via internet for my son’s iPad without him being aware if he wasn’t supposed to be using it. I also loaded my media collection on and loved that I could stream it from my devices.

In terms of improvements, I do wish that the antennas were a bit more compact.  Where I typically keep my router, I had to move the shelf in order to ensure it was on top and getting good signal.  This was a minor annoyance given how much better the coverage was inside the house.

Overall, this is an awesome router which means that my devices work better and faster with no lags.  I liked the QOS which was seamless and automatic and it meant that I didn’t have to configure anything out of the box other than setting up the admin password and adding in my devices.


NETGEAR Genie NETGEAR Genie by NETGEAR
Category: Utilities
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX, iPad75-iPad75, iPad76-iPad76, iPhoneXS-iPhoneXS, iPhoneXSMax-iPhoneXSMax, iPhoneXR-iPhoneXR, iPad812-iPad812, iPad834-iPad834, iPad856-iPad856, iPad878-iPad878
Size: 103.63 MB

$FREE

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.

Technical Specifications

–    Model #: R7500-100NAS
–    AC2350 (600Mbps @ 2.4GHz – 256 QAM support + 1733 Mbps @ 5GHz 11ac)
–    Powerful Dual-Core 1.4GHz processor
–    Two (2) USB 3.0 ports
–    One (1) eSATA port
–    Four (4) high-performance external antennas
–    Five (5) 10/100/1000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet ports (1 WAN & 4 LAN)

 

Review of The RE 200 AC750 WiFi Range Extender by TP-Link

TPLINK3

What we love…

Quick and easy set up, portable, simple to move between locations, dual band, can use with a Blue-ray or game console at the same time as using as signal extender

Summary

My house is a big challenge for a signal extender and although I did not find one ideal location for the RE200 that gave good signal in all areas of the house, I did see an improvement in WiFi signal throughout, and by moving it between 2 locations I could get a useable signal in all areas (which I could not previously).

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums

The RE 200 AC750 WiFi Range Extender by TP-Link is a Dual Band Range Extender designed to boost your WiFi signal in home or office locations where you have areas with poor WiFi signal or dead spots. The RE 200 plugs into a power outlet, and can also be used to provide wireless internet to a wired device such as a Blu-ray  player, Wii or Playstation console.

I have an awkwardly shaped house for WiFi signal – it is split over 3 floors with lots of walls and we have a lot of areas with poor reception and dead spots. I have used another WiFi extender in the past, but with it I have to keep switching between the main signal and the extender signal in different areas and still have dead spots, so I was interested to see how the RE200 would cope with this challenging environment.

TPLINK1

Setup

There are 2 ways to set up the range extender, if your router has a WPS button that is the simplest way, if not you need to setup via a web browser.

WPS  (WiFi Protected Setup)

My router does not have this button so I was unable to test this method but it sounds incredibly simple:

1. Plug in RE200, wait until WiFi light on RE200 is solid green

2. Press WPS button on router and Press WPS button on RE200, 2.4GHz and 5GHz LEDs will turn solid green once connected

3. Relocate the RE200 to preferred location (1/2 way between router area you are trying to extend coverage to.)

Web Browser Set Up

This is the method I used.

1. Plug in RE200, wait until WiFi light on RE200 is solid green.

2. Disconnect your Ethernet connection – this instruction confused me a little – disconnect it from where ? It actually just means if your computer is connected to your router via an Ethernet cable then disconnect it, otherwise do nothing.

3. Click on your computers WiFi to see available networks and choose TP-link-Extender.

4. Launch a web browser and connect to http://tplinkrepeater.net/, use admin as both username and password

5. Enter your router’s WiFi password and choose whether to keep this same name as your WiFi network name when using the RE200 or to give it a separate name. I choose a separate name  – it automatically suggested my regular WiFi name_EXT. Having a separate name allowed me to compare signal strengths with and without the extender in different parts of my house. If you choose to keep the same name as your regular WiFi network name you wont need to switch between networks in different parts of the house, making things very simple.

6. Repeat the setup for the other band (do once for 2.4GHz and once for 5GHz)

7. Relocate the RE200 to preferred location (1/2 way between router area you are trying to extend coverage to.)

Even though the non-WPS method has a lot more steps it was still very straightforward and only took about 5 minutes from start to finish.

If you make a mistake when setting it up (e.g. enter your WiFi password incorrectly) there is a recessed “reset” button on the base of the unit, a word of warning though – the RE200 must be plugged in when you reset otherwise the reset doesn’t work.

TPLINK2

In Use

My first challenge was finding a good location to place the RE 200 in, my router is upstairs in my kitchen, and I have dead spots in my bedroom (1/2 a level down and off to one side), living room (also upstairs) and office (full level down in another direction). One thing that made it a little tricky was that it needs to be located away from Bluetooth devices, cordless phones and microwaves, and I have a lot of Bluetooth devices in my house. The reason for this is that all these devices can interfere with the 2.4GHz signal, so you will get better performance avoiding them. The interference a typical household gets on the 2.4GHz band is a good reason to use a dual band extender like the RE200 (not all devices will work on 5.0GHz hence needing 2.4GHz also). The good news is it is really easy to move it between locations, after the initial set up it is just plug and go, when you move it to a new location just plug it in and wait for the 2.4GHz and 5GHz indicators to light green, and its ready to go.

My house is a really awkward configuration for WiFi signal, plus our incoming signal isn’t that strong (we have DSL but live quite a distance from the hub), so it is quite a challenge for a signal extender. I did find one location for the RE200 where I could get internet in all areas of the house, but the signal was still pretty weak in the far corners of the bedroom, this was still an improvement as there was no connection before in this area. However, I also found that by moving it between two different locations each one would improve my signal strength in different problem areas. The improvement in signal strength did vary significantly depending on the location of the RE200, and depending on whether I was using a computer or mobile device, in general the signal in the house was much worse on my mobile devices, so this was where I saw the biggest improvements. Once I had found the right locations I saw from 15% up to 100% improvement in download speed tests.

 

 

TPLINK1

The things I like about the RE 200 are: it is very easy to set up, very quick and easy to move between locations, it has both 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz bands and can be used to provide wireless signal to a Blu-ray or game console at the same time as being used as a range extender. It worked better than my previous extender, and with my previous extender I found areas where my devices automatically connected to the extender even though it had no useable signal and I had to manually switch back to the main router signal in those areas, this did not happen with the RE200. My house is a big challenge for a signal extender, and although I did not find one ideal location for the RE200 that gave good signal in all areas of the house I did see an improvement in my signal throughout the home, and by moving it between 2 locations I could get a useable signal in all areas (which I could not previously).

The RE 200 AC750 WiFi Range Extender by TP-Link is available from Amazon and other retailers, retail price is approximately $50

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.

 

WoodTones Over-The-Ear Headphones by Griffin Technology – Review and Giveaway

 

woodtonessapele_4
Summary

Overall, the WoodTones headphones from Griffin Technology are a great choice for a $100 headphone- they look beautiful with their combination of and black and rich wood grain, they’re comfortable and provide a balanced, warm rich sound

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums

The WoodTones Over-The-Ear Headphones by Griffin Technology, as the name suggests, feature real wood, giving them a beautiful organic look.  The wood is used for the ear cups, which Griffin says improves the acoustic quality, and for trim around the connectors on either end of the removable headphone cord. They are available in 3 wood choices- Beech, Walnut and Sapele, I tested the Sapele – an African wood with a rich mid-brown color.

The earcups are rectangular instead of the traditional round shape, and that coupled with the real wood grain gives them  a distinctive look. The rest of the headphone is black, giving a nice contrast to the wood grain. They have a self-adjusting headband- just slip it on and it adjusts to fit different head-sizes without having to change settings. The earcups swivel and can turn sideways to the headphones can lie flat for storage, they don’t come with a carrying case, which would be a nice additional feature.

There are a lot headphones in the $100 price range on the market, one thing that make the WoodTones stand out from the crowd  is how comfortable they are. They are lightweight and nicely padded,  I have worn them for several hours at a time comfortably.  They work best if you are staying in one place – I found that if I used them when walking or exercising they did tend to slip, but this didn’t occur when using them at a desk or in a chair.

The cord is detachable, which is a nice feature as cords are often where headphones fail, and it’s much cheaper to replace a faulty cord than a set of headphones. The cord has an inline Mic, allowing you to answer calls, and also has pause/play and  next/ previous track buttons, but no volume control.

woodtoneswalnut_1

 

For listening they do have a warm, rich, mellow sound, with a balanced audio profile. If you want booming bass these probably won’t be your headphones of choice, but if you prefer a balanced sound with the mid-range accentuated these are a great choice for their price.

Overall, the WoodTones headphones from Griffin Technology are a great choice for a $100 headphone- they look beautiful with their combination of and black and rich wood grain, they’re comfortable and provide a balanced, warm rich sound.

Available in a choice of Beech, Walnut or Sapele RRP $99.99 from GriffinTechnology.com and from Amazon and other online retailers.

Giveaway

One lucky winner will get a pair of WoodTones Over The Ear Headphones – enter via Rafflecopter below. Open Worldwide. Winner will be emailed and must respond within 48 hours to claim their prize

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Technical Specifications:

  • Hand-turned wood enclosures
  • 50 mm moving coil neodymium magnet drivers
  • Over 90-degree pivoting earphones
  • Impedance: 32 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 108 dB ± 3 dB
  • Frequency response: 20 to 20,000 Hz
  • Detachable 1/8″ (3.5 mm) cable with built-in mic
  • Built-in mic also has controls for Siri, call answering and hangup and audio (play, pause, next/previous track)

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.